Tuesday, February 28, 2006

 

CASW 3-My presentation

The third CASW presentation has come and gone in a whirl! I was presenting my student work and to cap it I had just that morning received feedback on my essay -the two factors were enough to make me slightly light headed.

I would like to begin with my own presentation first.

Context:

Student of Std 6, receiving learning support in Science.
One pull-out class a week (during second language as student has language exemption).Student stays back after school for extra classes if and when required.
Requires clues to help link previous learning to new situations.

Limitations in current set-up:

Student is not on modified curriculum-hence has to do same work as peers. No modified question paper/assignments.
Home support-negligible
Student’s inherent difficulties with comprehension, recall, writing, interpretation and analyis

My key question:

What strategies can I use to make my teaching more effective and the student a better learner?

The questions during the clarifying round focused on the kind of support provided, the number of one-to-one classes and the difficulty level of the student.

The participant discussion focused on teaching methodology to be employed. One issue that was raised was related to the loss of self-esteem in students with LD due to pull outs, another was the necessity to identify software suitable for such students.

Strategies mentioned included using visual modes of teaching, using flashcards and recorded lessons. Another pertinent point was to use previous learning situations- to see what helped the child to understand and recall a particular concept and use it in teaching new topics.

The strategies that were suggested are being put into practice at different stages. This could be due to the fact that I teach in a one-to one situation,my entire focus is on the one student and the individual needs and the way the child learns becomes more clear as each session progresses. Coupled with this is the fact that other teachers who work with the same student (from my department) as well as the counselor are able to provide me with feedback on the student's learning-including strategies that they have successfully used. This actually means that I end up fine tuning my teaching methodology constantly.

My response to the issue of loss of self esteem was in the nature of anecdotes. The memory of one student’s answer to his friend’s comment –“Miss Raji is here to help you because you’re dumb”. “No, she’s not here because I’m dumb, but because I have difficulties in organization and writing. She helps me with that!” (I nearly jumped with joy at that!) The point is that when the student is confident and sure of why the help is provided, they do not look upon it as being damaging to their self-esteem. I do admit that a great deal of sensitization is required – for the student, peers, parents and teachers. Viji Sampath, Neena John and Anne John had presented a paper at the BDA Conference last year that dealt with the very same issue. Their research into this issue clarified that acceptance of learning support follows a curve- in smaller classes students are more than willing to have learning support teachers around,when they step into high school there are issues of peer pressure which may cause them to say no to the support.But, interestingly,once the same students reach say 9,10 or higher, they realise on their own the importance and need for the support and ask for it on their own.

Another topic that came up during discussion was to do with technology. Mohua had suggested the possibility of looking at software that could be used by students with LD. The department has looked into it, identified a few and held a presentation for parents. We hope to take it further by actually installing it on a few of our school computers.

I do not know whether my key question was too generic to be answered with concrete examples. Maybe, as Tara pointed out, a more pointed question would have brought out more. Suggestions anyone?

Comments:
i feel the key question is too generic but it can be applied to not just learning support but all disciplines.... suggestions about software and things like that could be more specific... i am more intersted i nthinking of how the child's learning capacity or potential could be increased - is extending by setting targets that are too high a method of doing it?
 
Well Koshy, as a student and a teacher of literature you can probably agree with Browning when he says "Ah! but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, or else what's a heaven for?" But in the case of setting targets for students one must set work that is challenging but not so challenging that the student cannot complete it and gives up in desperation. It should also be not so easy that he/she gets bored and gives up. The exact difficulty level at which a student can work without feeling either pressurised or bored varies from child to child. One needs to know the child very well in order to decide on extension activities for individual students.
 
Raji,
Reading your reply to Koshy,s comment I feel you have hit the nail on the head-BANG!!When it comes to the crux of the issue--its the actual practicalities that really matter.We can talk till the cows come home, but to know your subject and student well gives a definite edge.
 
student variabilty and how to bring the cows home yeah thats what im also wrestling with
 
Very intersting and thought provoking discussions, Raji. Never mind if the question is too generic. The whole point is to get us all thinking and that has ben achieved. Also, the point you make about the appropriate challenge is reminiscent of a quote from the brain based video when Marion Diamond talks about how much stress is a challenge and how much makes the student collapse.
 
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